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Hi folks


Good to see the new site looking so good. I'm on for an overhaul myself and am going to move up close to the hills in mid-December. No more work for me for a while, just board, board, board. Question is, where should I move to ? My first impression is to head up near Hakuba, but does anybody have any good ideas. I don't need a job, will buy a car so access shouldn't be too much of a problem, and want to live in a proper house or apartment where I can invite my mates, not some little "resort mansion" 1LDK jobbie that costs over the odds.


Hokkaido is probably too far for me, BTW.


Any advice or comments from people who've done the same thing greatly appreciated. Same goes for leads to fudosans etc. Nihongo no problemo !


Thankin' y'all



[This message has been edited by Board to be Wild (edited 02 November 2000).]

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Hey BtbW


hmmmm not 1LDK, and wanna invite your mates?

Maybe you should check some real estate for sale? Usually appartment or houses for rent for winter in here easily get occupied.

And even 1LDK mansion here costs you 70,000 yen or more per month to rent.Almost same deal with big cities? I'm not sure.


Nihongo no problemO???? LOL.

Com'on, dont be shy!

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Yo Mr. Gamera ! You're in Hakuba aren't you ? Hopefully we can hook up sometime.


Thanks for the advice. First thing I should say is that I've never been to Hakuba . Not even once. I've been to Shiga Kogen seven or eight times, and to Naeba, Myoko, and Yuzawa, but that was back in the days when I used to ski. I'm one of these city types you know with a regular job and overtime and all that. Lucky to get three or four trips a year. unless I do something drastic. This year I have decided, ahem, to do something drastic. I can always get another job. Something tells me I'm not going to get any younger.


I wouldn't be surprised if Hakuba-mura itself is all minshuku, hotels, resort mansions and other tourist-oriented forms of accommodation. I just don't want to stay in in that kind of place and am prepared to live further away, even on the outskirts of Nagano City if necessary. As I say, it doesn't have to be Hakuba. It just looked good in the Japanese Skier/Snowboard guide. Other suggestions are more than welcome.


I'll make my first reconnaissance (spelling ?) trip to Nagano next week.


One of my Japanese friends bought a 1DK resort mansion near Shiga Kogen last year for around 6 million. It was 35 million when it was built in 1990. I intend to take my girlfriend and all my stuff, so a 1DK isn't going to be enough. I may well do some work from home (I'm a translator) and am sick of living in a cramped place in the city to be honest. A house or roomy mansion is what I want. I've got a fair bit saved up, but not enough to buy a decent place, I think. I also don't have permanant residence, which I believe is necessary for gaijins to get a mortgage.


All comments and recommendations appreciated.

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Hi BtbW


Kinda old fart? Same here smile.gif

Hook up? Thats cool!

Yes, I'm in Hakuba,but originally from Osaka.

Do you know where it is? Yoshimoto & Takoyaki city LOL.

I know your feeling, I felt I wanted to escape from crowded concrete jungle then i decided to do.It was more than 10 yrs ago.

I wondered whether I could be accustomed to life here, but see! now im living here. Actually not so convenient as well as in cities,if you miss a train, you gotta wait for another hour! but it doesnt kill me and lots of nature through the year.

Who can complain with this surroundings if s/he loves country life?



Well, judging from your situation for now, maybe you should check some houses/rooms to rent? If you can work at home, i guess real frontier is okay. Real independent old house in a hill or mountain (No neigbors)........

I'm not sure you can survive there or not.


Anyway try everything! and if you would like to hook up, just e-mail me!

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I have lived in Amagasaki (just outside Osaka) for ten years, so yes, I know where it is...


As I say, I plan to make my first scouting mission up to northern Nagano/Niigata this coming weekend. Some the guys behind this site sound as if you live in this area, so any advice is welcome. I just want to snowboard like mad for a while and would like to know where I should set up base camp. It doesn't have to be right in front of the slopes, but will preferable not require having to spend too much time in traffic jams.


Am well on for hooking up with anyone come December.

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BtbW, im not sure how long you plan to live

close to slopes, but if i can advice, are you determined to remove snow?

This really sucks! Sometimes it needs me whole day. If you plan to live just for this coming season, perhaps anywhere is okay. But if that plan will be kind of permanental one, I recommend somewhere fewer snow for exapmple Omachi city, Miasa village concerning closer to Hakuba.

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It is amazing to hear that you will give up your job for living in the snowy mountains of Japan!


I would like to do that, too one day! But still I have to earn some money...


Anyway do you know Kagura Mitsumata in Niigata? Until now it has been the best ski resort I visited in Japan. It is pretty big and there are not many people. It goes up to 1850 m.


I would like to visit you in your new appartment... Can I already take reservation???


Mail me soon!



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Thanks for the encouragement everyone. One of the reasons I'm telling people I'm going to spend the winter snowboarding is that I still haven't totally convinced myself that it's what I'm going to do. I've lived in the same place and worked at the same company for so long that I've become afraid of change. This in spite of having the means to do all right for a while without working. Many Aussies in a similar situation choose to go to Europe and do a tour in a VW bus, ending at the Oktoberfest in Munich. Rather than travelling myself, I have always wanted to have a go at doing a couple of things seriously to try and improve at them. In the past, I had envisaged this as an intensive karate course, but snowboarding is what I'm into at the moment, so that's what it's going to be.


While shovelling snow is not one of my hobbies, it may be marginally better than sitting in a traffic jam everyday on that main road that runs north-south through Hakuba. As a city type, I suppose it's easy to think lightly of the various inconveniences of living in the mountains. "The exercise will do me good" and that sort of thing. Maybe I can invite lots of people up and then get them to do it !!!


I don't know anything about Kagura, but I'll have a look later here on SJG and in the (Japanese) Skier/Snowboarder S-Guide I have at home. I have some friends in Niigata so I suppose I could ask them as well.


I'm still a fair way off getting everything sorted out, but I'd sure be glad to meet up with folk once I do. First trip up there is going to be this weekend and hopefully I'll be able to get a more concrete idea of what I can expect. I don't think I'll be taking my board this time, btw.


Bring on the snow !

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Ive been in Nagano for about five years now and Ive lived in Shiga Kogen, Shinanomachi(near Kurohime and Myoko) and a few other small towns but at present Im in Nagano City. If I were in a situation similar to Board To Be Wild Id probably base myself in Shinanomachi. There are some pretty good resorts like Suginohara, Myoko and Kurohime all really close. Once you get familar with the backroads you wont have any problems with traffic and Nagano City isnt too far away.

A mate rented a new 3 bedroom house which was owned by the local town office for 30000 a month. From what Ive been told these houses are being built and rented out cheaply to try to get more people to live in the area.

I cant compare it to Hakuba as Ive never lived there but that will change this season. Ive had enough of working in an office for the past 2 years so Ive quit and Ill be working in Hakuba from the end of the month.

Sometimes you have got choose between money and lifestyle. I came to Japan to snowboard and I got caught up in making money which I dont regret but at times last season being able to see the fresh snow on my way to work and not being able to ride sucked. Ive had various jobs in Japan like snow groomer operator/lift staff, bar/restaurant work, pipe engineer, Harley Davidson mechanic and of course teaching english. Either english teaching has driven crazy or its just made me realise no matter how easy the job is if I dont enjoy it I shouldnt do it.

I got about 28 days in last season which is probably more than most of you guys in Tokyo and the bigger cities got so I guess I shouldnt complain too much but this season Im not going to let the office get in the way of snowboarding. Most of us have a choice and Ive made mine.

My advice to Board To Be Wild is to hand your resignation in A.S.A.P. It can be difficult but you will probably feel a lot more relaxed about things afterwards. I know I sure was.





[This message has been edited by KRUSTY (edited 08 November 2000).]


[This message has been edited by KRUSTY (edited 08 November 2000).]

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The resignation went in at the end of September. I have to give ten weeks notice, so I don't finish until mid-December.


Will check out some of the places people have kindly suggested tomorrow and Saturday. I may have a temporary place sorted near Happo-One so I'm going to have a look at that too. If I do get to spend time there, I'll give you a shout Krusty. It's pretty close to the slopes by the sounds...

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I took 1999 off to do what BTBW is doing--ride my board.


At first I thought about spending the winter in Japan, but it is just so expensive here. Many resorts have never heard of the "season pass" concept. And there is a shortage of challenging terrain and long, knock-you-out runs. You get your ticket pulled for skiing off-piste... You can't rent places without guarantors and foreign registration cards...


It is all very complicated and in the end I decided I would spend half the money and have twice the fun by heading back to the US and Canada, where you can rent a great apartment with fridge, stove, shower, bed, parking, etc., for the equivalent of about JY50,000 per month. No guarantor! No key money, no agency fee, no foreign registration card...


I know this is the a site about Japan, but really, if you are able to take the whole winter off, why don't you just go to Salt Lake City or Vancouver or some of the smaller, cheaper towns outside of the Lake Tahoe region?


The snow and terrain would be great, and it would cost much less than a winter in Japan.


I ended up taking my girlfriend and we had an incredible winter. We spent most of it at Whistler/Blackcomb and at Mt. Washington.




This year I will be doing the office-worker's winter again. Saturdays and whatever paid holidays I can squeeze in.


But let me warn you--wherever you decide to spend your winter (and it will be great wherever you go), the bad part is going back to work in the spring.


You quickly remember what it was that you hated so much about being a weenie-bin wage slave.


You conclude that your time is worth more than the money people are willing to give you in exchange for it; and also that you would just rather have more time, not so much money. Money's great, but time is much better.


Another thing you may find when cutting loose as BTBW did by submitting his resignation in September is that, well, the things you thought you really wanted and liked when you were working, turn out not to be as you thought they would be. In many cases you realize those things were just elements of a story you had to tell yourself in order to be able to present your brain and hands at some job somewhere...


The things that you like when you are an unemployed, enjoying-most-every-day camper are not necessarily the things you liked when you were a worker drone as I was, and am again.


However, I am pleased to report that one thing I always thought I liked got more and more likeable, even after quitting: BOARDING.


Drinking and corn chips also remained high on the list.


Anyway...enough about me and my "lost year" (heh heh heh). If anyone is thinking of hitting Vancouver for the winter, I can give some useful anecdotal information about how to cut some corners on costs etc., and how to find a cheaper place to live.


[This message has been edited by badmigraine (edited 13 November 2000).]

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Back at work now frown.gif


Spent a nice weekend up in Hakuba, including a stay (and killer breakfast) in the hotel used by the Russian cross-country ski team during the Nagano Olympics. It seems like I'm too late to catch a decent sized place there in the village itself (the odd "one-room" was all that was left), but I saw some nice places in the Kita-Omachi/Shinano area that's 15km or so south. Saw one place behind a takoyaki stall at the bottom of the Sanosaka resort (time to lift-maybe one and half minutes), but it was too small and looked very cold. I have had an offer of a room in a hut near Happo-One for one month, but sharing is probably not what I want. I was on for making a love nest with my woman (her mother permitting).


Any information or leads appreciated, of course.


For those interested, the usual deal is two months rent for reikin (non-refundable gift to landlord), one month for shikikin (deposit that may come back), and one month for brokers fee. A 2DK in Omachi goes for 60000 with parking included. As the man says, the system sux to high heaven. The only compensation for me is that it's not as savage as here in Osaka. A 2DK in the city here will be 800,000 upfront with 400,000 automatically lost. As for the gaijin renting thing, it looked like you'd be up against it without the documents mentioned above. I may just rent in my woman's name if I can.


I'm British so going "home" to board really isn't an option. I was kind of thinking of getting some freelance translation thing going (something to do on weekends and national holidays...) in which case I'm better off starting in Japan and trying to take the work elsewhere when/if I get established. While North America/NZ/Europe may have better facilities than Japan, the slopes here are challenging enough for me, I can assure you. If I do become converted like mr migraine, then I'm sure gaikoku will be the place to go. I hear the New Zealand dollar hasn't been doing very well, so that could be an option in the spring.


All the resorts I passed along Route 148 (147?) were closed, with the exception of a short stretch of manmade at the bottom of San Alpina. The weather was magic on Sunday, and some people were out windsurfing on the lakes up there. Most of the leaves were down, so it's just turning into winter proper there now.

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Go for it man, you wont regret it.


Im doing a similar thing myself, but will have to work part time. I also want to live in a city, as my last Japanese experience was great, but in a town 170,000 (many advantages, except this was a cement town, so it always stank!)


Ive decided to go to Sapporo, and will leave in a few weeks. But another area you may want to look at is the Yamagata area. Lots of resorts including Yamagata Zao (50 lifts - can you imagine how much hidden backcountry and hidden powder stashes there must be when you know the place!) and Gas-san - slopes are open till the end of July!!


I almost decided on going here. I imagine there are lots of towns with cheap rent etc., and Sendai is nearby so your still in touch with city life.



Let us all know how it goes!



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  • 3 months later...

Apologies for digging up this old thread (with about half the posts by me redface.gif ) but I thought I'd better finish the story.


I now live in Shinano Omachi, about 20km south of Hakuba. I'm in a two-storey "Canadian-style" apartment with big double-glazed windows and a garden full of snow. It's near the Bunkakaikan, for anybody local. I've got a season ticket for Hakuba 47/Goryu, and have been spending most of my time there on my board. I haven't done any work so far. I've checked out a few of the other resorts up here too, whenever they've had an offer on (which isn't very often unfortunately). My gf is working at one of the big hotels up in Hakuba, so things have worked out pretty well.


As Mr. Gamera correctly states, Omachi gets far less snow and far more sun than Hakuba, and so is an easier place to live in that respect. I've only had to dig the car out twice so far. Going up and down Route 148 all the time, it's amazing how often the weather changes for the worse (sun->snow) around Sanosaka (the twisty bit with the five tunnels). If visibility or fine weather are important to you, I would recommend the Sun Alpina resorts over 47 or Happo. They've got the music on pretty loud at Sanosaka, mind.


Today I experienced my first complete white-out in a strong blizzard at the top of 47. Couldn't see or hear a thing. Well freaky, I tell you. I've not been over-exerting myself at weekends, but with all the snow coming down at the moment, tomorrow could well be worth parking miles from the gondola and battling the crowds.


By the sound of things on this forum, Hakuba isn't everyone's cup of tea. My impression is that it's far more of a resort than a traditional Japanese town in the mountains. Anyone seeking a quaint old village should go elsewhere. Any territorial gaijin out there should note that there are other foreigners about, though the "overrun with dickheads" type comments on the forum would appear to be more of a reflection on the poster's mentality than on Hakuba village itself. Predictably the area gets very crowded at peak periods and the roads can be a nightmare (4hrs to Omachi for my gf on Jan 3). However, if you can get up here during the week, you can have a killer time. The mountains are magnificent and the snow is light, dry, and super easy to board on. I'm not an expert on boarding by any stretch of the imagination, but I've have been having a grand old time. It's coming down in bucketloads this year, so get yourselves out ! Don't matter where !

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My advice worked??? - Glad to know it.

I have had really hard time this winter, especially in January. Tons of snow to remove. And additional, had to climb roof because snow stayed there, didnt drop down on the ground, this never happened before.

Yes, sometimes roads really get crowded here.

Then get on a train! too quicker!

Goryu/47 season pass????

I bet you drive in front of my house! LOL

Why dont you e-mail me to hook up!!!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I translate for a company in Suwa, Nagano (guess which, wins you a fine timepiece) and started boarding this year. Saw a lot of fine vile days blow past the office window only to turn to 'lovely' springlike weather on the weekend. So if anyone wants to start a translation company somewhere in Naggers with flexible hours in the winter, give me a shout. Boarding beats everything else.


BTW, I lived in Osaka for five years, in lovely Tenma. If you watch 'Black Rain' you can see my apartment building!!!! It's the little blue light about six pixels square in the pan shot of the castle. To think that I spent all those years believing winter sports meant wearing tight-fitting vomit-coloured jackets with fur trim!

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  • 7 months later...

I too am sorry about posting on this very old thread but am in a similar situation as BTBW.


I just left my employer here in Tokyo and although I plan on getting another job here, I'd like to hold-off on working until April of 2002. I figure It would be nice to spend about 3+ months living and boarding near the slopes in Japan.


Does anybody know if it's possible to rent a place near any slopes in Japan on a monthly basis?

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